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What's New

Disaster Risk Reduction in World Economy

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 179, December 2018:

AIDMI's publication of Southasiadisasters.net is titled "Disaster Risk Reduction in World Economy" and focuses on the important theme of loss and damage incurred by assets due to disasters. This issue also provides a compendium of best practices and initiatives such as country-wide risk transfer programmes that provide a coping mechanism to the respective economies when faced with massive loss and damage from disasters. Another interesting theme explored in this

 


issue is the unfair structure of climate finance that can potentially keep developing countries in a perpetual debt trap.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Active Risk Transfer and Insurance Initiatives; (ii) Livelihood After Disaster: Planning in Flood Affected Kerala; (iii) Dynamic Accountability of Global Disaster Risk Reduction Measures: A View for Dialogue; (iv) Disaster Risk Reduction in Rural Economy: View from NIRD; (v) Do Disasters or Climate Change Lead Adapting Countries to Debt Crisis?; (vi) Reducing Disaster Loss and Damages in Malaysia; (vii) Building Community Resilience through Participatory Groundwater Management (PGWM) Approach.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Dr. V. Suresh Babu, and Dr. Basavaraj Patil, National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Hyderabad, India; Isabella Dahl Kormilitzine, Director, Debt Justice Norway; Hafiz Amirrol, Building Resilient Communities Programme Development and Operations, MERCY, Malaysia; and Surbhi Arul, Nisha Subramanian, and Harshvardhan Dhawan, Arghyam, Bengaluru, India.

Theme: Risk Transfer, Livelihood, Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change, Economy.

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Avoidable Deaths: A Way Ahead

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 178, November 2018:

AIDMI's publication of Southasiadisasters.net is titled "Avoidable Deaths: A Way Ahead" and tries to highlight the importance of reducing disaster mortality. Even the global level policy instrument Sendai Framework that guides the actions of nations in disaster management has enshrined "substantial reduction disaster mortality" as a veritable target to be pursued by its 185 signatory countries. This issue explores the theme of avoidable deaths in disaster si

 


tuations in an inter-disciplinary and systemic way. Disasters are often complex phenomena that impact the world in a variety of adverse ways. The possible triggers that can lead to large-scale death and destruction have been explored in this issue. This issue is also a valuable resource to researchers, practitioners and students interested in expanding their understanding on this particular theme.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Moving Towards Avoidable Deaths; (ii) Incentivizing Transparency, Expediting Humanitarian Assistance, and Strengthening Civil Society; (iii) Women take the Lead: Turning Crises into an Opportunity for Development; (iv) Disaster Risk Reduction – Save the Nature and Nature will Nurture you; (v) How Can Asia Address Avoidable Deaths?; (vi) Why Zero Mortality in Schools is a Myth; (vii) Non–Traditional Approaches to Finance for Disaster Recovery: A Few Examples for Consideration; and (viii) Impacting Lives through Skilling.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; G. Padmanabhan; Ben Smilowitz, Executive Director, Disaster Accountability Project, Rockville, MD, USA; Prema Gopalan, Founder and Executive Director, Swayam Shikshan Prayog, Pune, Maharashtra, India; Ankur Gupta, Department of Management Studies, Centre of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management, IIT Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India; Dr. Nibedita S. Ray-Bennett, Associate Professor in Risk Management, Programme Director for the MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management, School of Business, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK; Chandra Bhakuni, Principal Structural Engineer, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India; Elisa TAIWO, Research Assistant, Action Against Hunger, France; and Sarah Berry, Advisor, Communications and Media Outreach IL&FS Education and Training Services, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Theme: Avoidable Deaths, Disaster Risk Reduction, Disaster Recovery, Civil Society.

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Interplay of Disaster Risk, Climate Change, and Uncertainty

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 177, November 2018:

AIDMI's publication of Southasiadisasters.net is titled "Interplay of Disaster Risk, Climate Change, and Uncertainty" and highlights how the uncertainty related with disaster risk and climate change marginalizes at-risk communities by posing a serious threat to their overall development outcomes.

 


Not only does this uncertainty manifest itself in different ways, it is also perceived by different people differently. For instance, there is a big gap in the way scientists and climate experts and at-risk communities perceive this uncertainty. While experts rely on quantitative models and projections, they are far removed from the lived experiences of at-risk communities who bear a disproportionate burden of the adverse impacts of this climate uncertainty.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Interplay of Disaster Risk, Climate Change, and Uncertainty; (ii) Migration — A Last Resort or An Adaptation Measure: A Case Study from Sri Lanka; (iii) Shifting from Climate Change to Catalyzing Community Change — A View; (iv) Uncertainty and Sundarbans Communities: A View from Bangladesh; (v) Anthropology of Uncertainty Among the 'Tribes' in India: A View; (vi) Communicating Climate Change and Mobilising Action: The Role of Faith Traditions and Human Rights; (vii) Erosion and Displacement — The Uncertainty in Indian Sundarban Delta (ISD); (viii) It is Possible, It is Right, It is the Future: Just Transition to a Green Economy; and (ix) Disaster Preparedness: A Shift in Paradigm.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Hasanthi Tennakoon, Karin Fernando, and Navam Niles, Climate Action Network South Asia - Sri Lanka (CANSA-SL); Dr. David Fletcher, Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University, Canada; Muhammad Taher, Independent Research and Evaluation Consultant, Balgladesh; Member, Steering Committee, Duryog Nivaran; Dr. Sunita Reddy, Associate Professor in Center of Social Medicine and Community Health, Adjunct Faculty in Special Center for Disaster Studies, JNU, New Delhi, India; Dr. Ben Wisner, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College, London; Dr. Tuhin Ghosh, Associate Professor, and Shruti Thakur, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India; Dagmar Walter, ILO Director, New Delhi, India; and Mahbuba Nasreen, Director and Professor of the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies (IDMVS), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Theme: Disaster Risk, Climate Change, Uncertainty, Human Rights, Green Economy, Disaster Preparedness.

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Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction: Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives in India

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 176, October 2018:

AIDMI's publication of Southasiadisasters.net is titled "Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction: Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives in India" focuses on the theme of CSR led projects in India that have had a tremendous impact on the lives of marginalized communities and victims of humanitarian crises.

 


The emergence of CSR as a major player in India's humanitarian landscape is welcome because it has secured much needed financial resources for activities of social development which were earlier undertaken by cash strapped civil society organizations. CSR has also helped in improving the professionalism in and service delivery of social welfare programmes and projects.

This issue highlights some of the laudable work done by major CSR entities like the HCL Foundation, IBM India Pvt. Ltd., Essel Group, IL&FS Services Ltd, etc. Responding to and planning for disasters and other emergencies has emerged to be a major focus area for CSR. This issue highlights how CSR can be leveraged to build the resilience of at-risk people and communities.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Does CSR Matter to DRR?; (ii) Transformative Interventions of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited for Community Empowerment; (iii) A Community of Practice for Teacher Professional Learning and Student Learning Resources; (iv) IIFCL Smart Village—Borsimaluguri (Assam); (v) Mobilising Corporate Social Responsibility Across the Country by Magma Fincorp Ltd.; (vi) CSR Activities of Nava Bharat Ventures Ltd.; (vii) Standing with Communities in Need: HCL Foundation's Journey in Capacity Building on Humanitarian Actions, DRR, and Resilience; and (viii) Nurturing Young Seeds: An Initiative of Essel Group.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Sarah Berry, Advisor, Communications and Media Outreach, IL&FS Education and Technology Services (IETS), Uttar Pradesh, India; Joyeeta Das, Program Manager, Corporate Citizenship, IBM India Private Limited, Bengaluru, India; Amit Kumar, Deputy Manager, India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited, Borsimaluguri, Assam, India; Kaushik Sinha, Vice President, Magma Fincorp Ltd., Kolkata, West Bengal, India; Mohammad Ali, Chief Administrator (SD), Nava Bharat Ventures Limited, Hyderabad, Telangana, India; Ms. Nidhi Pundhir, Director-HCL Foundation, CSR Head-HCL Technologies, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India; and Priti Goel, Essel Group, Nurturing Young Seeds, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Theme: Disaster Risk Reduction, Corporate Social Responsibility, Private Sector


Understanding Recovery in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Southasiadisasters.net Special issue no. 175, October 2018:

AIDMI's publication of SouthasiadisaAIDMI's publication of Southasiadisasters.net is titled "Understanding Recovery in Andaman and Nicobar Islands" and highlights the various aspects of the post–tsumani recovery process there.

 


This issue focuses on many themes related with the recovery process in the islands such as the importance of understanding the underlying factors of vulnerability, the role of international humanitarian agencies in assisting the recovery, civil–military cooperation in the response efforts, importance of housing, food and nutrition for a sustainable recovery and rehabilitation, etc. Most importantly, this issue highlights the nature of vulnerability and risk reduction in these beautiful islands.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Towards Understanding Recovery; (ii) The Multidimesionality of the Idea of Recovery; (iii) Challenges of Post–Tsunami Recovery in A&N Islands; (iv) (Re)Understanding Recovery from Asian Tsunami;; (v) Andaman & Nicobar Islands: After the Tsunami SEEDS Experiences; (vi) Lessons from Tsunami Recovery in Andaman & Nicobar Islands; (vii) Let us not Increase the Vulnerability of the A&N Islands; (viii) Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka, South Asia: Role of Japan; (ix) Civil—Military Cooperation in Disaster Response in India; (x) Reflections on Disaster Recovery in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; (xi) Observations on the Built Habitat and the Techno–Legal Regime of the Andaman–Nicobar Islands; (xii) Ecosystem Recovery Post Tsunami: Untapped Role of Communities; (xiii) Andaman Nicobar Islands Recovery: A View from the Communities; (xiv) Contribution of TISS in Andaman and Nicobar Islands Recovery: A Short Account; (xv) Andaman Nicobar Islands Recovery: Food and Nutrition Schemes; and (xvi) The House that Jack Built: Rebuilding Homes after the Tsunami of 2004.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Janki Andharia, Ph.D, Professor and Dean, Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India; Lt Gen N C Marwah, Member, National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi, India; Manu Gupta, Co-founder and Executive Director, SEEDS, New Delhi, India; Dr. Jaya Goyal, Social Scientist Specialising in Accountability & Institutions, Social Policy, Public Service Delivery, Community & Child Nutrition, India; Dr. P.G. Dhar Chakrabarti, (Retired) Headed the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) during 2005–2011; Pankaj Sekhsaria, Senior Project Scientist, DST-Centre for Policy Research, IIT-Delhi; Member, Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group; Yumiko Tanaka, Professor, Josai International University, and JICA Senior Gender Advisor, Togane-shi Chiba–ken, Japan; Ms. Madhuvantthe, Research Officer, Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies, TISS, Mumbai; Air Commodore Nitin B. Sathe, Sl Air Force, DSSC, Wellington (Nilgiris), Tamil Nadu, India; Alpa Seth, VMS Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, Maharashtra, India; Dr. Vijeta Rattani, Climate Change Division, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India; Sophie Blackburn, Liberal Arts Early Career Development Fellow in Geography King's College London, UK; Prof. Surinder Jaswal, Deputy Director (Research), School of Research Methodology, Centre for Health and Mental Health, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India; and Dr. M. Chandi, Sr. Research Associate, Andaman Nicobar Environmental Team, North Wandoor village, South Andaman Islands, India.

Theme: Ecosystem, Tsunami Recovery, Social Studies, Vulnerability, Disaster Response, Role of Communities..

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Rising Risk of Heat Waves in India

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 174, October 2018:

AIDMI's publication of Southasiadisasters.net is titled "Rising Risk of Heat Waves in Asia" It highlights not only the incidences and impacts of heat waves in Asia but also all the scientific and governance innovations designed to mitigate their damage.

 


While instances of heat waves are on the rise across the world, Asia in particular seems to be reeling under an intense heat wave. According to the meteorologist Etienne Kapikian, at least seven Asian countries have already set monthly high temperature records at the end of March 2018.

All this scientific and empirical evidence points to the inconvenient truth that the incidence and intensity of heat waves will increase across Asian countries in the coming years. Therefore, there is a need to address this rising risk or mitigate its adverse impacts. This issue of Southasiadisasters.net takes stock of the best practices in governance systems (heat wave action plans), early warning and health preparedness among others to mitigate the adverse impacts of heat waves in Asia.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Heat Waves and Street Vendors: What Cities Can Do; (ii) Top Three Achievements of India to become "Weather Ready and Climate Smart"; (iii) Public Health Impact of Heat Waves in Indian Cities; (iv) Heat Wave Action Planning in Cities: A View from Gujarat; (v) Research Issues on Heat Waves in India; (vi) Heat Wave As A New Norm in Vietnam; (vii) Heating Island Paradise: Philippine Temperature Rises; (viii) Heat Wave Action Plan – Ahmedabad; (ix) Role and Results of National Disaster Management Authority in Heat Wave Planning in India; (x) Impact of Heat Wave on Vulnerable Citizens in Indian Cities; (xi) Impact of Heat Waves on Citizens; (xii) India Heading for Worst Summer and Heat Wave Across Half the Country.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Maya Potter, Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellow; Dr. Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi, India; Vaishali Paste, Public Health Specialist, and Edmond Fernandes, CEO, Center For Health and Development (CHD), Karnataka, India; Shwetal Shah, Technical Advisor – Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India; Saudamini Das, NABARD Chair Professor, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India; Thao Do, IDS, Sussex, Vietnam; and Rolando Talampas, Asian Center, University of the Philippine Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.

Theme: Heat Waves, Cities, Risk Reduction, Governance,

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Dark Clouds, Silver Lining: Kerala Floods, Gulf Responses, and More Lessons

August 25, 2018
The unprecedented flooding witnessed in the Indian state of Kerala in August 2018 has been heart wrenching. Climate experts and meteorologists have dubbed it the worst flooding observed in the state in over a century and have attributed it to unusually high monsoons.[1] Several attribution studies are ongoing.

 


According to the Government of India’s Home Ministry’s National Emergency Response Centre (NERC), this catastrophe of epic proportions has left 443 dead displaced 223,139 people in over 150 relief camps set out across the state.[2]

As the floodwaters recede in Kerala, leaving behind lost lives and damaged houses and wiped out livelihoods, it is important to imbibe the lessons that this disaster has offered for effective relief and sustainable reconstruction.

Dark Clouds Within the first 24 hours of the torrential downpour, Kerala state was battered by 310 mm (12 inches) of rain.[3] By mid-evening on August 8, the state’s dams had filled to capacity. All of Kerala’s 14 districts were placed on red alert, while the floodgates of 35 of the state’s 54 dams were ordered open. The latter measures, in turn, led to widespread flooding in the low-lying areas.[4] According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala has been directly affected by the floods and related incidents.[5] Among the floods’ many thousands of victims—men, women, and children—the hardships faced by migrant laborers and the links between their plight and Kerala’s future wellbeing require more attention than they have thus far received. An estimated four million migrant laborers from other states work in nearly all sectors of Kerala’s economy.[6] Reports are also emerging that these migrant laborers in Kerala are returning home because the floods have shattered their lives and snatched away their livelihoods and assets.

According to Benoy Peter, executive director of the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (Perumbavoor), most migrant workers’ employers could have taken adequate care of them. In fact, some even refused to lend their plywood factories to provide shelter to those rescued.[7] Peter stated that, except for the Odisha state government, which dispatched a team to evacuate those stranded by the flooding, migrant workers’ home state authorities had likewise yet to come to their aid. Responses by state governments other than that of Odisha were limited to lodging enquiries with their Kerala counterparts and appealing to the Railways to run special trains. All India Disaster Mitigation Institute’s camp-to-home relief work in villages of Thrissur shows that the district administration is doing its best to not leave anyone behind.

The fact that many migrant laborers have returned to their places of origin is also likely to have an adverse impact on Kerala. The loss of this labor force with skills and credentials will almost surely impede the state’s ability to recover from the disaster, as many native Keralites are themselves migrant workers employed in the Gulf countries.

Silver Lining As stories of the human distress, kindness, bravery, and charity emerge from this disaster, we must imbibe the many lessons it has to teach us. While, understandably, the electronic and print media are replete with images of distress and havoc, the silver lining to these dark clouds has been the resilience of the people of Kerala and the outpouring of sympathy support from throughout the country.[8] Together, India’s states and union territories have pledged about Rs. 211 crores ($293.06 million) in relief compensation to help Kerala deal with this disaster. The government of India has promised the immediate release of Rs600 crore ($85.8 million) in response to the state’s request for assistance.[9]

The Kerala floods case conveys a second lesson, namely the importance of incorporating into disaster response strategies plans for addressing the distinctive needs and vulnerabilities of migrant laborers. Indeed, migrant laborers are typically exposed to multiple health and economic risks, and possess little or few coping mechanisms. It is important for the administration and institutional structures of any state to adequately plan for the rescue and welfare of its migrant worker population during a catastrophe.

Third, as the responses to the Kerala floods reveal, international cooperation is vital to providing effective relief. The strong bond between Kerala and the Gulf countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, has served as the basis for such cooperation. According to the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) report, of the estimated 36 lakh migrant workers originating from Kerala, the large majority live in the Gulf region. Half of the Keralites working in the Gulf live in just two countries — the UAE (41.5 percent) and Qatar (8.5 percent). The importance of these transnational labour links to Kerala’s economy, and to the Indian economy as a whole, is reflected in the large sums remitted annually which, according the World Bank, amount to nearly 3% of the country’s GDP.[10]

The long-standing connections between Keralites and the Gulf countries are clearly discernible in the latter’s pledges of assistance. UAE and Qatar are encouraging its citizens to make donations and have provided help in cash and kind since the floods struck. Indian businesses based in UAE have collected $2.7 million as part of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation for Kerala flood victims.[11] Similarly, Qatar has offered a relief package of $5 million. The current chief minister of Kerala has also hinted that the UAE had offered an even larger relief package.[12] The Sultanate of Oman stepped forward with delivery of relief material as well.[13]

Indian media outlets hailed the pledges of help from Gulf countries.[14] However, such gestures of generosity have sparked a fractious debate in India whether to accept offers of financial assistance for reconstruction, as opposed to relief supplies.[15] Nevertheless, the readiness of UAE, Qatar, Oman (and others) to help Keralites in their time of need offers an important lesson in humanitarianism. Specifically with respect to the Gulf Arab states and their citizens, as well as Indian expatriates residing in the region, this instance demonstrates how people-to-people links and long-term economic association can be leveraged to provide dignified relief assistance to a disaster-ravaged community.

Conclusion In the aftermath of massive disasters, such as has recently occurred in Kerala as the result of torrential monsoon rains and flooding, it is possible, and indeed necessary to look for lessons that could mitigate the adverse impact of future calamities. This article has highlighted a few of them. It has also brought to light the fact that long-standing people-to-people connections, such as those that exist between Keralites and the Gulf countries, can serve as the basis for providing solace and support in exigent circumstances. In fact, given a chance, members of local communities can change their lives from that of aid recipients to agents of prosperity.

By Mihir R. Bhatt  Oct 9, 2018
See more: www.mei.edu/content/map/dark-clouds-silver-lining-kerala-floods-gulf-responses-and-more-lessons


Rising Risk of Heat Waves in Asia

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 174, October 2018:

AIDMI's publication of Southasiadisasters.net is titled "Rising Risk of Heat Waves in Asia" It highlights not only the incidences and impacts of heat waves in Asia but also all the scientific and governance innovations designed to mitigate their damage.

 


While instances of heat waves are on the rise across the world, Asia in particular seems to be reeling under an intense heat wave. According to the meteorologist Etienne Kapikian, at least seven Asian countries have already set monthly high temperature records at the end of March 2018.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Heat Waves and Street Vendors: What Cities Can Do; (ii) Top Three Achievements of India to become "Weather Ready and Climate Smart"; (iii) Public Health Impact of Heat Waves in Indian Cities; (iv) Heat Wave Action Planning in Cities: A View from Gujarat; (v) Research Issues on Heat Waves in India; (vi) Heat Wave As A New Norm in Vietnam; (vii) Heating Island Paradise: Philippine Temperature Rises; (viii) Heat Wave Action Plan – Ahmedabad; (ix) Role and Results of National Disaster Management Authority in Heat Wave Planning in India; (x) Impact of Heat Wave on Vulnerable Citizens in Indian Cities; (xi) Impact of Heat Waves on Citizens; (xii) India Heading for Worst Summer and Heat Wave Across Half the Country.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Maya Potter, Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellow; Dr. Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi, India; Vaishali Paste, Public Health Specialist, and Edmond Fernandes, CEO, Center For Health and Development (CHD), Karnataka, India; Shwetal Shah, Technical Advisor – Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India; Saudamini Das, NABARD Chair Professor, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India; Thao Do, IDS, Sussex, Vietnam; and Rolando Talampas, Asian Center, University of the Philippine Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.

Theme: Heat Waves, Cities, Risk Reduction, Governance.